Support Land Health and New Agrarians

Donate today to help us leverage $20,000 from the Paul H. Johanson Fund

2018 New Agrarian Apprentices learn biological monitoring with Ann Adams from Holistic Management International as part of apprentice orientation. 

Albuquerque Wildlife Federation volunteers and others learn about erosion control in arid rangelands and build structures to slow water during storms. 

2017 Apprentice Shawna Burhans tosses hay to sheep at Cobblestone Ranch in Chico, California. 

Maggie Parrish of the Institute for Applied Ecology teaches about plant identification and seed collection at a spring land health workshop at the Red Canyon Reserve. 

Double the value of your donation

The Paul H. Johanson Fund has offered to support Quivira’s Land and Water land health workshops and New Agrarian Program apprentices with a one-to-one match up to $20,000. Make a pledge by June 30 to help us make the match!

With your support, we’ll double this generous grant to train new agricultural mentors and beginning ranchers and offer hands-on workshops for ranchers and land managers on evaluating, monitoring, and implementing techniques for restoring and increasing land health.

Pledge your support today!

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More about what your donation supports

Land and Water Workshops

Quivira’s Land and Water program creates opportunities for landowners to access the resources, tools, and community support necessary to enact good stewardship and restoration. In 2018, we will offer six land health workshops on working lands covering topics ranging from erosion control and mitigation to native seed harvesting and rangeland re-vegetation to range and soil monitoring techniques for ranches.

With your support, action can be taken to improve the quality of western rangelands, including improved surface water conservation, brush management, and the development of appropriate grazing strategies to protect grasslands and their biodiversity while meeting the needs of ranchers. We seek a pledges totaling $10,000 to match a generous grant from the Paul H. Johanson Fund to offer land health workshops through our Land and Water Program.

Red Canyon Ranch: This year we will offer two workshops for land managers at Red Canyon Ranch on a variety of techniques to reduce erosion and increase ground cover and wildlife habitat. Topics will also include ways to understand and assess the biological assets of rangelands. Quivira has operated Red Canyon Ranch as a living laboratory since its donation to our coalition fifteen years ago, endeavoring to demonstrate good rangeland stewardship. Activities have included land health workshops, experiments in dryland watershed restoration, and support for pollinators. With the help of committed volunteer managers, we have built and maintained watering structures and carefully monitored vegetation.

Valle Vidal: On the weekend of August 3-5, we will offer a three day field workshop along the Holman Creek, a tributary of Comanche Creek. We collaborate closely with the Comanche Creek working group to assess wetland restoration potential and monitor and maintain new and existing erosion control structures in the Comanche Creek Watershed on the Valle Vidal. The New Mexico Environment Department has awarded Quivira a two-year grant for slope wetland restoration using keyline design, and we will document and share these techniques at our 2019 conference and as an open-source technical guidebook.

Ranches and Ranchers: In 2018, Quivira will work closely with three ranchers to plan and implement restoration and monitoring projects. Western rangelands—which comprise grasslands, forests, riparian areas, and a diversity of critical wildlife habitat—are an essential component of the rural West’s ecological, economic, and social fabric. Ranchers play an essential role in the stewardship of these and many other invaluable resources, and in rural communities they are the leaders of collaborative conservation initiatives. When we work on private lands, we endeavor to gather and disseminate critical lessons learned in order to help others achieve and maintain land and watershed health. In this way, each of our land health workshops disseminates regenerative practices within a local neighborhood and sends new understanding into the broader region.

New Agrarian Apprenticeships

The Quivira Coalition is committed to supporting holistically minded agrarian mentors who are sharing critical knowledge and skills with the next generation of ranchers and farmers, as well as motivated apprentices who have chosen careers in regenerative agriculture. Investment and partnership in the New Agrarian program supports agricultural leaders who are stewarding working land and rural communities.

We recognize that supporting the next generation of sustainable ranchers and farmers will require much from us and from our partners in this work, and we welcome your continued support for this vital mission. We seek funding totaling $10,000 to match a generous grant from the Paul H. Johanson Fund, which will help us build on past successes to further the development of the New Agrarian Program.

The past eighteen months have been an exciting period of growth for the New Agrarian Program. We have increased our partnerships from seven ranches and farms to twelve, and we are delighted to have enrolled a dozen apprentices who have gained valuable experience working side-by-side with expert mentors. NAP apprenticeships in 2018 will provide 15 beginning ranchers and farmers with hands-on training on holistically managed cattle and sheep ranches, an organic grain farm, a holistic orchard and nursery, and an organic dairy.

Through a partnership with Holistic Management International, we enrich and expand apprentices’ on-the-ground skills training with equally important classroom work. Apprentices participate in a weekly webinar to learn from certified educators about whole ranch and farm planning, financial management, marketing, business planning, and biological monitoring. Mentors work with their apprentices to make coursework relevant to their daily, hands-on tasks and help them understand the financial underpinnings of decision making—from basic functions like calculating how much to budget for fuel to more complicated planning processes, such as estimating the long-term business effects of adding new enterprises.

We also are actively enlisting mentors for the future. We have piloted an online mentor training program, which we now offer more broadly to producers outside NAP who are considering bringing on an apprentice. Along with Career Connection, our semi-annual agricultural job fair, this program supports mentors who do not fit neatly into the structured apprenticeship model but who are nevertheless able to offer valuable training opportunities.

NAP’s annual activities are important, but we know that our greatest success extends beyond each apprenticeship season to the legacy we create in the field. NAP graduates have gone on to become successful agrarians, mentors, and leaders in the regenerative agriculture movement. One example is Amber Reed, who apprenticed with Julie Sullivan and George Whitten at San Juan Ranch in 2009 and with Becca and Dan James at James Ranch Artisan Cheese in 2010. Amber now manages the Farm at Woods Hill in New Hampshire, supplying pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, and chicken to the restaurant, Woods Hill Table. Here is what she has to say about her NAP education:

My time as a Quivira apprentice was intense both professionally and personally. There’s nothing like learning to move a stubborn animal and to fight your own impatience at the same time. It’s also pretty great when you realize that you have gotten better at something against all odds. These days, I manage an absolute maze of land, animals, crew members, guests, owners, and chefs. I’d never be able to do this without learning to be a hell of a planner from George and Julie or being totally organized and keeping track of a million serious details like Dan and Becca.